How SMEs Really Feel About ‘Bl**Dy Lawyers’


New research published today has revealed the way SMEs really feel about ‘bl**dy lawyers’.

When asked to describe how they feel, or would feel, when working with a lawyer, the phrase ‘over-charged’ came out as the most popular, cited by 32 per cent of the SMEs surveyed – highlighting serious customer dissatisfaction.

And nearly two-thirds said their business would need to be in ‘serious difficulty’ before contacting a legal firm.

But the research, commissioned by HM Legal, wasn’t all bad for lawyers, with 26 per cent saying they feel, or would feel, ‘supported’ when working with a lawyer, and 25 per cent said they felt ‘reassured’.

HM Legal, which is based in the north-west, worked with YouGov to uncover the findings amongst 1,000 SMEs with up to 250 employees, from across Great Britain.

When it came to describing a lawyer in general the top three positive phrases were, intelligent (42%), smart (29%), and savvy (21%). But the 3rd most popular description overall was money-grabbing (25%). Other popular phrases were equally diverse, with ‘tricky’, ‘fair’ and ‘honest’ being used by 13 per cent of those polled and ‘unscrupulous’ and ‘truthful’ rated by 11 per cent.

Richard Burnett, Commercial Director at HM Legal, said:

“We know many SMEs feel under-serviced and dissatisfied by the service they receive when it comes to legal matters – that’s why we’re on a journey at HM Legal to do law differently. We don’t hide behind legal jargon and our fees are fixed, meaning there are no hidden surprises. You could say we offer ‘Legal-eez’.

“Despite the negative elements of the research, what is great to see is there is still confidence in the ability of the lawyer, which comes across loud and clear in this research.”

Yet despite 61 per cent of respondents saying they would consult a local law firm if they were looking for legal advice for their business, the research revealed that 63 per cent would need their business to be in ‘serious legal difficulty’ before contacting a lawyer.

“It’s a concern for us that people in businesses may be so turned off by working with a legal services provider that they wait until they are in serious legal difficulty before consulting a legal expert,”
said Richard.
“We know that by involving a legal expert early in a potential legal situation, SMEs can usually save time and money resolving the issue.”

This spring HM Legal launched its Six New Standards, which includes promises such as ‘fixed fees’ to avoid customers feeling over-charged or blind-sided by newly introduced costs, and a ‘no chase pledge’, guaranteeing that their legal team are on the case and not the other way around.

“We know what it’s like to run an SME and we want to make their life easier and more successful,” said Richard. I tell the team, instead of “bl**dy lawyers” we want our clients to think of us as the ‘bl**dy brilliant lawyers.’”

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